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Caritas: The EU agreement with Turkey to expel refugees is unacceptable

2016-03-15

Syrian war enters its sixth year with a landmark ceasefire, for now. 

In Syria, the "Arab Spring” became a winter that has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people, according to the UN. Although other sources such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say that the figure rises to more than 370,000 victims.

The last three weeks have been fairly calm. The conflicting parties except the Islamic State and Al-Nusra, a subsidiary of Al Qaeda, have respected the truce initiated by Russia and the United States. A small step for Caritas Internationalis in regards to peace.

MICHEL ROY
Secretary General, Caritas Internationalis
"The fact that the ceasefire has been more or less follow for the last three weeks now is a good sing that the people want to stop the war and it can come only for the Syrians themselves so what the International Community has to do is to accompany this process, to strengthen it, to stop selling arms to everyone, to stop buying oil from Daesh which is still the case.”

On the other hand, we continue to see these images: Thousands of desperate people, parents who prefer to risk their lives and those of their children at sea because what is on land is infinitely worse.

Now, they crowded into Idomeni, at the Greek border with Macedonia, because the former Yugoslav republic has unilaterally decided to block their path.

MICHEL ROY
Secretary General, Caritas Internationalis
"As Church we have to open arms. We have to work on the reasons why they've left and this is the priority but since they are coming we have to welcome them.”

Europe has failed to fulfill all the promises of resettlement of these refugees. Rather it has abandoned them, forgetting  about Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes the right of asylum.

MICHEL ROY
Secretary General, Caritas Internationalis
"There is this paradox between why the European Union was created for in the past to avoid such tensions and to welcome those who are escaping from violence and yes, violations of human rights and now doors closing and this is warning for the future of Europe as well.”

But the EU intends to go further with an agreement with Turkey that would hold a massive deportation. In exchange for 3,000 million for Ankara could get rid of refugees.

MICHEL ROY
Secretary General, Caritas Internationalis
"This step that the European Union has taken with the Turkish government is not understandable, is unacceptable and is a very shorten vision.”

It is estimated that over 70 percent of the population remaining in Syria survives below the poverty line. Since the beginning of the war, the life expectancy of the Syrians has fallen from 70 to 50 years. Should they ever reach peace, it will take several generations to recover what five years of senseless destruction have contributed to.


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